Maine girl born with 'mermaid syndrome' dies at 10

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Associated Press

Posted on October 26, 2009 at 5:02 AM

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine (AP) — Shiloh Pepin, a girl born with a rare condition often called "mermaid syndrome," has died. She was 10.

Maine Medical Center spokesman John Lamb said Shiloh died at the hospital Friday afternoon. She had been hospitalized in critical condition since last week.

Shiloh was born with sirenomelia, meaning her legs were fused from the waist down. She had no lower colon or genital organs and only one partially working kidney. Doctors told her parents that she would likely survive for only hours, maybe days.

Some children who have survived sirenomelia have had surgery to separate their legs, but Shiloh's circulatory system made that challenging because crisscrossing blood vessels would have been severed.

Her story has been featured on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and other national TV programs.

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